FACE History

The Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism (ECTWT), was established in Bangkok, Thailand in 1982. At the end of 1987, ECTWT launched an advocacy and action study project on tourism and child prostitution in Asia.

Thailand, Philippines and Sri Lanka were selected for the study. These countries were selected because they were experiencing the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism business. In addition, ECTWT had network organizations in these countries which had joined ECTWT programmes to study of the negative impact of tourism which could help undertake the study.

The findings of these three country studies and brief reports on the issues in India and Taiwan were shared at an international consultation in Chiang Mai, Thailand in May, 1990. Both Dr. Saisuree Chutikul, Advisor to the Office of Permanent Secretary, The Prime Minister's Office and Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children and Executive Director of Child Rights Asianet, were present as resource persons and keynote speakers.

The sixty-eight participants were so appalled by the magnitude and severity of what happened to victimized children in prostitution, identified by the UN as a contemporary form of slavery, that they voted to launch an international campaign to eradicate this evil practice.

Three people began work to implement this international campaign:

  • Dr.Koson Srisang, the Executive Secretary of ECTWT at that time, who initiated the study "Tourism and Child prostitution in Asia",
  • Rev. Ron O'Grady, who had worked on tourism issue for several years and was a committee member of ECTWT, and
  • Sudarat Sereewat (Srisang), a director of the original study project and the researcher on Thailand. (Sudarat and June Rogers, co-pastor of the International Church of Bangkok, were co-directors of the study on "Tourism and Child Prostitution in Asia".)

This three year campaign (1991-93) was called ECPAT: End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism. The ECPAT office was established in Bangkok and. As a director of the study project and researcher for the Thai study, Sudarat was asked to be ECPAT’s first Executive Secretary.

Although the ECPAT campaign was quite successful in raising the public awareness as well as in encouraging many governments to amend existing laws and to enact new laws, it was clear that concrete legal measures and action were also necessary to effectively curtail the sexual abuse of children.

From the beginning of ECPAT phase 2 (1994-1996) the then Executive Secretary, Sudarat, concentrated on monitoring the legal/justice process so that the victimized children would get justice, especially in cases which involved foreign paedophiles.

ECPAT’s monitoring work specifically focused on paedophile cases in Thailand, with the understanding that lessons from the Thai experience could be useful in other countries as well.  Co-operation from other national ECPAT networks was especilaly important in the arrested paedophiles’ countries of origin.

After a little over a year, it was felt that monitoring of the legal and justice mechanisms would be handled more effectively if the monitoring became a separate, country-specific project. ECPAT began to limit its mandate to campaigning. A new group, called FACE (Coalition to Fight Against Child Exploitation) was founded to monitor the Thai legal/justice mechanism.

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